The State of Programmatic Media Buying: New ANA Research

December 19, 2017

By Bill Duggan, Group EVP, ANA

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The ANA has just released the new white paper, "The State of Programmatic Media Buying." Based on 149 ANA member respondents, we found that a great majority (85 percent) stated that their company is currently conducting programmatic initiatives. Among those, key findings were as follows:

  • The top cited benefits of programmatic buying are better audience targeting, the ability to build audience reach, and real-time optimization.
  • Companies are focusing their programmatic media buying on online display on a desktop (85 percent), followed by mobile display (74 percent), online video on a desktop (71 percent), and mobile video (62 percent).
  • A large majority (78 percent) of respondents are either concerned or very concerned about brand safety issues in programmatic buying.
  • More than a third of respondents (35 percent) have reduced the role of external agency(ies) as a result of the expansion of their in-house capabilities for programmatic buying. This is a notable increase from the ANA/Forrester 2016 study that found only 14 percent of ANA marketers doing this.
  • Most respondents have one staff member who devotes 100 percent of his/her time to programmatic initiatives and three employees who work on programmatic initiatives as part of their other work responsibilities.
  • Only 40 percent of respondents are comfortable or very comfortable about the transparency they receive with their programmatic media investments. A third are uncomfortable or very uncomfortable. Those who said they were uncomfortable cited factors including hidden costs, too many middlemen, and uncertainty on where ads actually run.
  • 19 percent of respondents have opted in to an undisclosed programmatic model with their agency/agency trading desk, which typically refers to media purchased on an advertiser's behalf that does not disclose the actual closing/winning bid prices, only the final price, which can hide margins and fees. The 2016 ANA/Forrester survey indicated that 34 percent of respondents had opted in to an undisclosed programmatic model. The ANA is aware that many marketers have made changes to programmatic buying practices to address media transparency concerns, and, specifically, fewer marketers are now opting in to undisclosed programmatic deals.

The report provides a number of recommendations including: build internal expertise, own the data and knowledge, and understand the tradeoffs of an undisclosed programmatic model. Full details are in the report.


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